Setting up my own email server, a few questions

I just want to start by saying that I’m a complete noob when it comes to email stuff. I want to set up my own email server, probably several times, to learn email, understanding the technology and how it works. It’s not as much about actually hosting an email server. The only thing I want to achieve is to set up a functional email server.


  1. I need to have my own domain, and I assume that I have to log in to the settings at my domain host to point to my email server?

  2. I’ve been reading a lot of various guides and I have kinda landed on postfix, dovecot, mariadb and spam assassin for my first test setup. Are these good choices? Are there any better alternatives?

I don’t mind something that is a bit hard to config. Actually, I would prefer something that is as hard as possible, definitely not something that makes it all easy, and not an all in one solution program.


No input, but there’s this


Your choices are very good if you want to learn how to create a complete mail server. But they are not easy to set up. I would recommend using a raspberry pie as you are going to be wiping the disk multiple times when something breaks ( and it will) but a reinstall doesn’t fix it.
You will need a domain and then you can use a dynamic DNS host if your provider doesn’t have one to point to your local ip.

Other servers are
James ( Java)
send mail. ( just dont)

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You will need a domain, and one that supports mx records (which most do but free, DDNS ones generally don’t). There’s a lot of other DNS stuff you can do to help your e-mail not get picked up as spam but none of that is needed to get e-mail working and understand how it all works.

This is a guide I used to set up a mail server, it goes through configuring each part and you will learn a lot as (at least when I set mine up) you will have to do a lot of troubleshooting and testing at each step which will help you understand how it all works together.

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Your choices are probably the easiest to setup but I would get it working locally first. You’ll still learn how it works and if it takes you a while to setup the domain would be kind of wasted until then. There’s also Cyrus imap which has been harder for me to setup but it also comes with cal/card/web dav servers. Then all you need to do is get the domain update the dns entries.

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If you can setup bind/named as your DNS server. Then learn how to use openssl to generate and manage x509 certificates… then you can use postfix as a mail server

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